Jul 072011

If you have a pets, chances are you have looked at pets carriers. But, how do you choose the best pet carrier for you?

Why Get An Animal Carrier?

The first thing you need to consider is what you need the carrier for. Is it for simple transportation to and from the vet, for long car rides, or for airline travel. Your choice may differ depending on why you need the carrier.

The main reason to get animal carriers at all is to keep your pet, whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit, or other small pet, safe. It will keep them contained and make sure that they don’t get away from you and possibly hurt. In many cases, especially with cats, getting one keeps you safe as well. Very few cats enjoy car rides and the last thing you want to fight your cat out of the car when you get to your destination or while driving.

For large dogs, you may not need one, since they can get in and out of the car easily. However, if you are going on a long trip, or have an excitable dog, a large crate can be a big help in keeping your dog from wandering all over the car and either causing an accident, or getting injured if you have to stop suddenly.

If you are traveling on an airline, a carrier may be required, although you will need to check on the regulations as to what kind is permitted for taking the carrier on the plane with you.

Sherpa Sport Duffle Pet Dog Cat Airline Approved Carrier Medium Blue 18"l X 11"wx 10.5"h

What should you look for?

1. Sturdiness – you want the carrier to last for years, so it needs to be made a quality materials that are rugged. All latches should fasten securely, and if you get a one that come apart, like may do, then make sure that all the parts fit together tightly. You will also want to make sure that it is easy to take apart and put back together. Since you may be taking it apart often, it needs to be easy to use.

2. Ease of use – is it easy to get your pet in and out of the carrier? For small pets, a carrier with two doors, usually on the top and the side are very handy. A carrier that comes apart can also be handy in this instance. Several times when I’ve taken my cats to the vet’s, they have had to take the cat carrier apart and take off the top to be able to examine my cat.

3. Easy to clean – a lot of animals get car sick or sick when they are scared. One of my cats seemed to always pee in her carrier, and another often throws up. While this isn’t pleasant, it is much easier to deal with if the carrier is easy to clean. A plastic pet carrier is the easiest to clean; however even soft sided pet carriers should be made of easy to launder materials.

4. Easy to store – For many of us, space is at a premium. Therefore, a carrier that is easy to store is a must. One option is a collapsible pet carrier, another is one that comes apart as mentioned above.

5. Stable – Pets move around in their travel pet carriers. They will shift position, roll over on their side, back into the corner, or turn their back to the door. The carrier needs to be stable so it won’t tip over when your pet is inside. The carrier should have a wider base than top. Most are rectangular, but others have a round top, usually something you will only see on a soft sided pet carrier.

6. Lightweight – Any carrier that feels light will suddenly feel heavy when you pet is inside. So, you want to make sure that it is lightweight from the start.

7. One that is the correct size – for short trips, a small pet travel carrier is fine. Your pet will need enough room to stand up and turn around. Many cats feel more secure in a smaller carrier. However, for longer trips, you will want to give your pet more room to move around. You may want one that has room to attach a food and water bowl.

Pet Gear Signature Pet Car Seat & Carrier for cats and dogs up to 20-pounds, Aqua

What kind of pet travel carriers are available?

When it comes to actually buying one, there are lots of options available. The most common are plastic and boxy. However, there are also backpack pet carriers, pet carrier bags, some of which look like a pet carrier purse. You can even get pet carriers on wheels, which are also called pet strollers.

What you want to avoid is a cardboard pet carrier. In a pinch, these can be useful; however, they are only designed for one use.

Where can you get good, cheap pet carriers?

A pet store is always a place to get a carrier, but they may not have the best prices. Many Walmarts and Targets have well stocked pet departments. So, don’t worry that a Walmart pet carrier will be cheaply made. Just look at the criteria explained above and you will be sure to get discount pet carriers that are right for you.

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